Ole Miss Head Coach Rod Barnes Weekly Press Conference

Jan. 13, 2003

Opening Comments
We're obviously disappointed in our 0-2 start in SEC play, but we're encouraged. We feel like there are some things that we are doing better, but not enough to win the last couple of games. This week, we want to get some things corrected, and then go to LSU and give our best effort of the season and give ourselves a chance to win.

We will have everybody in practice today. We have a couple that are banged up and bruised. Shaun Holtz (back) is always continuing treatment. We found out after the game that Jonathan Loe only had a high ankle sprain, but he should be back in practice today. David Sanders is still recovering from wrist problems, but nothing that should stop him.

In looking at the league, I think you can now see that anyone can beat anyone. Right now, we feel like we're not out of the race because it is still early. It's a long way to go, but we need to start playing better and winning games. The main concern of our coaching staff is trying to get our team to play 40 minutes of good basketball, Ole Miss style. We didn't do that in the first 2 SEC games.

Our guard play has got to get a little more aggressive. Our inside play has done a pretty good job against the teams we've played. We held Ron Slay under his average, and we did a good job of defending Tony Kitchings at South Carolina. We're going to play at LSU this Saturday, and they have gotten some good play in the post. We're not where we want to be or need to be, but we're not that far off from playing really good basketball.

(On the open date)
With this team, it's good to have some time off. Saturday's loss to Tennessee was tough in the way we lost, so we'll go back to the drawing board. It (the loss) wasn't just the last 2 minutes or the last play. Tennessee shot 53 or 55 percent on our homecourt, so we've got to get that worked out.

The open date gives us more time to prepare for a tough LSU team on the road. We need that. I would not liked to have to go to LSU Wednesday. I would have liked a home game Wednesday. But, with our next game on the road, we need this time.

(On what he got from film study following Saturday's game)
There were a couple of things that jumped out on film after Saturday's game. What I saw that concerned me was that we couldn't get a stop down the stretch. The way they went about getting buckets was what jumped out at me. On the positive side, I saw some guys that played more aggressive. Aaron Harper came out and moved well, and we got him the ball but not enough. David Sanders made some really good moves although he had some turnovers. I saw a little more of the team I'm looking for. I was impressed with Jonathan Loe's overall game. He was pretty good offensively, and on the defensive end, he was better.

To go back and see 21 turnovers, and from our calculations, 14 missed block-outs and then they shoot 55 percent, it shows the potential our team has to be leading with only 2 minutes left. But, the point is we've got to get the job done. Taking care of the basketball is crucial in SEC play, and we've got to get the urgency that it's about every possession, not just the last one. If we can get that done, we'll be alright.

(On the recent offensive concerns)
I think that it (not hitting the open shots) is some of it. I also think we're turning down open shots. We're getting opportunities like when we reversed the basketball Saturday, Trey (Pearson) was open, but he turns the shot down and the defense gets set. If he turns the shot down, he needs to attack. I thought that was also happening with David Sanders. It wasn't that David wasn't getting good looks. He was turning the look down, and when you do that, you give the defense a chance to recover. When you turn a shot down, you've got to create a shot for another player, and that's where we are not there yet.

I also think it has to do with being aggressive. If the ball is kicked out to me and I don't take the shot, but I attack and get someone else a shot then we got something. That's where our problem is. When you have broken the defense down but you allow them to get back into position, you are not going to get a very good shot. That's what has been happening to use, especially with the shot clock running down.

I've told our guys that as long as you're attacking, we're OK. We didn't do that in the South Carolina game. We did a little better in the Tennessee game, but it's where we need to be all the time.

(On LSU)
They have a junior college transfer (Jaime Lloreda) that has made the difference in their team because they can go inside and get baskets. They have veterans around the perimeter. Torris Bright is running their team and doing a great job. They have Collis Temple on one side and Antonio Hudson on the other, and both of those guys are good. Then, you add Ronald Dupree and all he does.

They are not very deep, and are playing about 7 guys and they are really good. There are not many weaknesses in what they do. The perimeter players all can put the ball on the floor and can shoot the ball. They pass and catch really well. That's why they are winning. It's not a fluke with what they are doing. In the past couple of years, they haven't had an inside presence. As I've said before, you need an inside presence and a point guard to compete in this league. It's going to be a tough game for us, and it's one that I'm looking forward to.

We've been playing a lot of close games down there. The last couple of years, we had a lot to lose in terms of an NCAA Tournament bid or improving our seed in the postseason. We go down there this year with our backs against the wall. I believe you'll see an Ole Miss team playing with a little more urgency that what we've played with before.

 

 

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